The Ottawa Senators have officially signed prospect Tyler Kleven, ending his college career after three seasons at the University of North Dakota. The contract will start this season, with Kleven joining the Senators tomorrow.
General manager Pierre Dorion released the following:
We’re very pleased that Tyler has recently made the decision to begin his pro career. He’s a big, rangy, hard-nosed defender who maintains a physical presence while on the ice and an ability to hammer the puck with his shot. We’ve been especially impressed with his overall development dating to his draft year.
Kleven, 21, will join former college teammates Shane Pinto and Jake Sanderson with the Senators as he tries to carve out a role as a defensive defenseman at the next level. The 44th overall pick from 2020 recorded just 35 points in his three years with the Fighting Hawks but added 214 penalty minutes in an uber-physical shutdown role.
Given Ottawa’s offensive talent on the blue line, a player like Kleven might be a perfect fit. Sanderson, Thomas Chabot, Jakob Chychrun, and Erik Brannstrom can all move the puck effectively, meaning Kleven can be insulated as he gets used to the speed of the professional game.
Moving forward, there will be plenty of playing time up for grabs, as Travis Hamonic and Nick Holden are both set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the year. While it’s no guarantee that Kleven will make the team out of camp for 2023-24, there is an obvious path to a roster spot available.
Starting his entry-level deal immediately means he is just over two years away from restricted free agency. Kleven’s contract will expire at the end of the 2024-25 campaign.